Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Monday 3 September

Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii
In Malaga for a committee of the Andalucia Bird Society this morning so took the opportunity of calling in at the Guadalhorce on the way home on the off-chance that the long-staying pacific Golden Plover might still be on site and happy to have its photograph taken.  No such luck.  No sign anywhere of the the bird nor any other medium to large wader.  On reflection, I perhaps ought to be satisfied that at least the bird hung around long enough for me to get back from the UK and Belgium in time to see the bird last week.  I wonder what winter will bring this year; Long-tailed Duck, Franklin's or Iceland Gull?

Welcomed to the site by a handful of Monk Parakeet I had a fly-over by a small flock of Spotless Starlings and the usual few Rock Doves below the motorway bridge.  A single Moorhen was seen close to the bank down stream from the bridge and, on approaching the eastern arm, a massive flock of Black-headed accompanied by a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls headed towards the sea and/or the Laguna Grande (see later).  Once at the Laguna Casillas it took some work to find a couple of female Mallard and the pair of Little Grebe,their two chicks had appeared by the time I returned from a walk to the Old River, but mainly many Coot.  However, there were four Little Egret resting in a bare tree at the back.  Not a single White-headed Duck to be seen or, indeed, on any of the other waters and this must surely be a first for me.

Moving on to the Wader Pool no sign of the Pacific Golden Plover,as already stated, but two dozen Black-winged Stilts along with the remaining juvenile Lapwing.  Still a good presence of Little Ringed Plover, mainly juveniles,  along with passing Collared Doves and a couple of House Martins.  A little excitement on the water as the Booted Eagle passed overhead and then on to take a long look at the Rio Viejo (Old River).  A few more Black-winged Stilts along with a very small number of Dunlin, Ringed and Kentish Plovers.  Eventually, I also found the handful of resting Sanderling on the far side of the water.

Very distant Booted eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus

making my way back I managed to find a single Spotted Flycatcher in the bushes and a Heron slowly flapped over.  Adding a Zitting Cisticola I duly arrived at the Laguna Escondida where, once again, all seemed very quiet with just a small number of Coot and a couple of Pochard at the far end.  A pair of Barn Swallows put in a very brief appearance but nothing else.

Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus with Black-headed Gaviota Reidora Larus ridibundus and Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii
And so to the Laguna Grande where I discovered the destination of the earlier-passing gulls.  Hundreds of Black-headed supplemented by a few Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls but, even more exciting, a small number of Audouin's Gulls.  Just the one family of five Little Ringed Plovers and seven Flamingo but also another three dozen Black-winged Stilts.

Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus, Gulls and Black-winged Stilts
Apart from the Little Ringed Plovers and the occasional gull movement everyone seemed to be fast asleep.  Just as well one of the Flamingos felt peckish and started to feed because the next minute everything was up in the air as our neighbourhood Booted Eagle decided to take a look at the water! Just before leaving to set off or home a very brief appearance by a pair of Common Sandpipers and more movement around the immediate area by both Collared Dove and Spotless Starlings.  Even a visit form a handful of House Sparrows to bring the visit to a close.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus with Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus
Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Zitting Cisticola, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

Juvenile Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius


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